The Crossing

I hiked for so long I was at eye level with clouds ….

While it is one of the most spectacular walks New Zealand has to offer, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not for the faint of heart! The Tongariro National Park itself is home to the Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu volcanoes, which are still active.

Just amazing!

It took seven hours to complete The Crossing, and I was feeling the 19.4 kilometers (12 miles) I hiked afterward. Several times on this walk I began to wonder if maybe Kiwis hate tourists and this is how they dispose of them — that was until I unwittingly walked the rim of a volcano and saw the views pictured above!

I will add that the following Maori quote ran through my mind a few times during the steep climb (1,886 meters or just over one mile) to the top: “Waiha e koe ki te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me maunga teitei.” Translation: Seek the treasure you value most dearly; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain. (Or maybe a few volcanoes!)

Am I on Mars or Earth?

There is an interesting Maori legend that explains how the area formed. For more information, the following Wikipedia entry offers a fairly accurate description of what we were told by locals: Mt. Taranaki legend.

The Emerald Lakes
Blue Lake

On the way down, there was one last great view!

Returning to familiar territory!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Law says:

    Great story! Reminds me of the story of The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains in Australia. Awesome views!

  2. The Maori creation stories are fantastic!

  3. Ron K says:

    Wowzers. It’s like a land that time lost.

    1. I know! When I was walking the rim of the volcano (the zig zaggy “path” in the picture that runs right next to the red crater), I was too close to things to realize where I was or what I was looking at! It’s all just jagged/red rocks that look like space debris! And then I went down into a little valley and turned around to see the volcanoes! Still didn’t seem like the Earth I’ve grown up on. 🙂

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